Last night Tina and I watched the Woody Allen film, “Midnight in Paris”, a wonderfully gentle film.
When I was young I dreamed of going to Paris, studying at the Sorbonne, writing and being a photographer. i loved the film of Truffaut, Malle and Goddard.
It was a romantic fantasy that would never happen. Being transsexual and having to deal with that had a way of interrupting fantasies.
I took other paths lived out other crazy dreams. I was a hippie in the Haight and Berkeley. Lived on Sunset Boulevard, mingled with rock gods and movie stars. I’ve studied in a number of the finest schools in the country, one or two classes at a time.
In 2002 when I was in New York I hunted down the addresses where people like Jackson Pollack had lived, visited the cemetery where he and Lee Krasner are buried, saw the house where he lived in East Hampton.
I took a few drawing and painting classes at the Art Students’ League, where some of the greatest of America’s modern artists have either studied or taught.
I spent hours in Strand’s books with its claustrophobic shelves that groan under the weight of hundreds of thousands of used books.
Owen Wilson’s character was a romantic who dreamed of a Paris of the 1920s, his fiance was the daughter of a right wing materialist her only thoughts, as well as those of her family were of possessions and status.
I was totally charmed when Woody Allen gave Shakespeare and Co, one of the world’s truly greatest book stores a cameo appearance. For Paris’ Shakespeare and Co. has house many writers over the years, expats who have gone to Paris to find themselves and to write. They crash among the stacks of Shakespeare and Co where they were coddled and cajoled by George Whitman, the bookstore proprietor who sadly passed away last December. Even the modern store run by Whitman was an invocation of an earlier Shakespeare and Co run by Sylvia Beach, a bookstore that dated from that magical period in the 1920 when Paris was the place for artists to go.
I loved the authors and artists of Paris in the Twenties since I was a teenager first discovering Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Picasso and Man Ray.
I think it is important that we don’t get so caught up with having to deal with transsexualism or transgenderism that we lose touch with our romantic fantasies and if Paris is beyond our reach there is always a used book store or a coffee house or even an art film with subtitles, perhaps in black and white, something like Breathless ( À bout de souffle) or Jules and Jim to remind us of a time when we felt romantic dreams were possible.
I’m bored with car chases and impossible gun fights and action heroes. They have become boring, I’ve seen too many and set in present times they are too dystopian they are to much like commercials that hype fear to sell me a police state. I miss movies with women in them, I miss intelligent dialogue, witty repartee.
If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend “Midnight in Paris”.